Raw Vegan Monday: Raw Chocolate Pudding Pie

I can't believe that this is already the 4th installment of Raw Vegan Monday. I'm having so much fun with this self-induced project, that I may just keep up with it indefinitely. Fresh back from a week in the country, I've recharged my internal battery and even re-set it a little. Fairly late to bed and still early to rise, I awoke before 6 this morning, completely rested and wondering what in the world I would make for my raw vegan self-challenge.

During my visit, I was perusing a magazine my Mom had picked up at the local co-op that happened to have a recipe for a raw apple pie. What was most interesting, is that the crust was comprised mostly of sunflower seeds. It was also a nice article written by Joy Hittner of Fountain City, another small Wisconsin town I've had the pleasure of living in. It was a small stint for me in Fountain City, but a nicely spent one, since I had a room in a house on a bluff, overlooking the frosty Mississippi in early spring. As the Winter gradually ended, the bald eagles appeared out of thin air, and as I walked around the nearly cliff-side town, they became almost commonplace visions. Living on the River has a special meaning for so many people. Life teems beneath the water, and on it, river traffic for both work and recreation abounds. It meanders the full height of our country, and is a force to be reckoned with when it overflows it's banks. So many people never get to see this Old Man, memorialized in our Americana thanks to Mark Twain and others, and I got to live steps from his edge and see his daily changes.

It's easy for me to get nostalgic about the many magical places in my state, but suppose I should get back to the pie, since you could have it made by picnic time this afternoon. After all, I even made a short trip down KK to Outpost and back, and still was done photographing my delicacy by 8:30 AM!

I made this recipe in a 8 inch, straight sided, tart tin. You could double the crust ingredients to accommodate a larger pan, and if it is a little too much, roll the rest into raw cookie balls (reminiscent of a Fudge Baby)...

Raw Vegan Chocolate Pudding Pie (adapted from Joy Hittner's crust and The Raw Table's pudding)

For the crust:
  • 3/4 c. raw sunflower seeds
  • 3 oz raisins (about 6 heaping tablespoons)
  • 4 large dates, pitted
  • 1 T. cocoa powder
  • 2 T. unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1/4 t. cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients in a food pro, and process (with the S-blade) until the mixture holds together when pinched. Be a bit patient, since it can take several minutes. If it doesn't seem moist enough, add another date or a few raisins and keep processing. Press into a pie or tart tin, and chill for 30 minutes or so to make it easier to un-mold from the tin.

For the pudding:
  • 2 small, ripe avocados
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • heaping 1/4 c. cocoa powder
  • 2 T. coconut cream concentrate
  • pinch of salt
  • cinnamon to taste, optional
  • 1 t. vanilla extract or essence
  • espresso powder, about 1 t., optional
Blend everything in a good blender (I am jealous of all of you VitaMix owners...) or a food pro until very smooth. Pour into pie or tart shell, use as a frosting, or enjoy by itself as a pudding.

This chocolate pudding is so creamy, thick and decadent, you would never dream that it could be vegan. I'm also figuring that resting it in the freezer in some 'pop' molds would produce something quite wonderful. It passed the Boy-O taste test, that's for sure! I considered layering some bananas underneath, but decided that I'll slice some on top when I serve it, since I didn't want them to get too mushy in the refrigerator. Even though this is a vegan pie, it is still very rich and quite heavy on fat - albeit healthy fats. I'm hoping it will last me several days under refrigeration, so I can have small slices. In general, I like to get a week out of a dessert. On second thought, I may even try freezing a couple of small slices too. I don't know why it wouldn't work...

So, if you happen to be headed to a Memorial Day service or picnic or potluck, and you need something amazing that no one would guess has avocado in it (in the Milwaukee area, Outpost has organic avocados for 79 cents each today!), this is the pie for you. If you have a well-stocked pantry, you won't need much time, either.

I also can't help thinking that on Memorial Day, I have so much to be thankful for. Our armed forces are not something I think about on an everyday basis since no one in my immediate family is or was in the military. My Father-in-Law is retired Navy, and when I met him, it made me think about all of the families that at some point carried on their day to day lives, for a while or for longer, without a family member. No matter your political affiliation, you must be thankful for the freedoms these people have afforded us. I know when I passed a flag-lined Kinnickinnic this morning, I remembered to be.